15 Secrets You Didn’t Know About Dexter

It has been over five years since the end of Showtime’s hit series Dexter. While the show was a success and won multiple awards, it also stepped into some potentially dangerous areas. The show follows Dexter Morgan, played by Michael C. Hall. Dexter is a blood spatter expert working for the Miami PD, alongside his sister, Debra, played by Jennifer Carpenter. By day, he works with the authorities to capture criminals but at night, he moonlights in capturing and later killing them.

The premise of a serial killer who kills other killers, while also attempting to keep both the dark and light aspects of his life separate, is an addicting premise to watch. Dexter has delivered some intense moments to its fans. Wondering who he will kill next or whether or not someone he knows will finally discover his dark secret puts fans on the edge of their seats. Eventually, the series came to an end with a finale that could have been better.

Even though the show has ended, there are still plenty of secrets about the series that many fans are not aware of -- many of which cross into some dark territories.

Here are the 15 Dark Secrets You Didn’t Know About Dexter.


15 Michael C. Hall Hid His Cancer Diagnosis 

It has been well known that many actors will go to great lengths to continue playing their roles. It just so happens, that Michael C. Hall is one of these dedicated professionals. Around the middle of filming the show’s fourth season, Hall was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

However, even after hearing the news of his diagnosis, Hall refused to leave his role. Instead, he chose to continue performing as Dexter until filming was complete. During this time, Hall refused to notify his other cast members and kept his condition secret.

Eventually, once the season was finished filming, Hall informed his fellow actors about his diagnosis and immediately began his treatment. Thankfully, Hall was able to beat his cancer.

14 Michael C. Hall Wasn't The First Choice To Play Dexter


We all know and love (and fear), the good natured serial killer Dexter Morgan. It’s almost impossible to believe that someone else could have portrayed the character. However, this almost came close to happening.

Michael C. Hall, was not the first choice to play Dexter. Jeremy Renner was originally in the running to star for the role but turned it down for personal reasons. After having recently starred as a serial killer in another film, Renner refused to play any more roles involving serial killers.

It also did not help that Jeff Lindsay, the author of the book series that inspired the show, originally did not feel that Hall was fit to play Dexter. Thankfully, after seeing him in action, Hall proved him wrong. He brought the role to life, creating one of the most morally intriguing characters in TV history.

13 The Show Inspired Real Life Murders

A dangerous thing about shows like Dexter is their potential risk for certain audiences. The fact that the show follows the life of a serial killer, using his murderous tendencies to hunt down criminals and killers, is bound to result in the audiences' desensitization toward violence.

Unfortunately, this concern for the show’s concept influencing audiences ended up becoming a reality. There were several instances where Dexter was responsible for inspiring people to commit murders in real life.

One of the most unfortunate cases involved a young boy, who was a fan of the character. He ended up being responsible for the murder of his ten-year-old younger brother. He claimed he killed his brother because, “he felt just like Dexter”.

12 The Cast Didn’t Know Who Would Die Until The Very End

To pull off a show as good as Dexter, the cast required perfect performance, and chemistry. Over the series run, many of the actors had become quite close to one another. Unfortunately, the possibility of a character’s death, is all too likely for a show like Dexter.

Knowing that one of their fellow cast members will be killed off from the series is a terrible pill to swallow. In worst case scenarios, knowledge of that a character will be killed off has been known to negatively influence the actors’ performance.

To avoid this outcome, it was decided that the cast would not be told who was going to die when they received their scripts. They would only be made aware of a death at the last minute, to prevent their performance from being affected. This just goes to show that even the actors themselves are susceptible to the suspense the series is known for.

11 Real Knives And Chainsaws Were Used On Set

During the moments when Dexter is about to kill his victims, the character uses several props to carry out the ritual. Examples include the infamous “hero kill knife”, which has a retractable blade that Dexter uses to stab his victims.

However, there are many instances when Dexter uses real knives and chainsaws instead of fake props. For safety reasons, the teeth and blades are of course, dulled. However, Hall and the prop master, Meltzer were careful, as they can still cause some harm if not handled properly.

In the episode, “The Damage a Man Can Do”, one of the actors accidentally stabbed a stunt woman using a knife. This is why safety was taken so seriously by the cast and prop master.

10 Michael C. Hall Crashed His Boat


We all know about Dexter’s boat, “The Slice of Life”. On the show, it becomes his go-to vehicle for disposing bodies by throwing them into the ocean.

The boat itself is one of the most iconic artifacts of the entire series. It has also seen it’s fair share of action, both on and off the set of Dexter. Before its destruction in the season finale, “The Slice of Life” was also damaged in another incident.

While navigating the boat during filming, Hall ended up losing control of the boat and crashed it into a pier, resulting in $8,000 dollars worth of damage. Thanks to his status as the star of Dexter, Hall did not have to pay for the repairs. Truly, “The Slice of Life” has faced her share of hardships. In the end, it seems appropriate that she went out in a blaze of glory.

9 Dexter Started Using Less Plastic For The Actors’ Safety

In the last section, actors on Dexter who played Dexter’s victims faced certain risks when going on his kill table. In addition to being stripped of their clothing and restrained to a table, Dexter also wraps them up in sheets of plastic. Even though it may not sound dangerous, wrapping a person in plastic can cause some considerable damage, especially for extended periods of time.

Using too much plastic can prevent the actor's skin from breathing, putting them at risk of dying from suffocation. To avoid any accidental deaths or injuries, Dexter began using less plastic.

Eventually, the show’s prop master, Joshua Meltzer, came up with an alternative and safer method to restrain the actors to the table. This resulted in the classic wrap Dexter uses in later seasons.

8 Batista Was Played By An Ex-Cop

David Zayas delivers some pretty memorable moments in Dexter as Angel Batista. David Zayas was the ideal choice to portray the character due to his own experiences. Prior to becoming an actor, Zayas was a cop as well as a former member of the United States Air Force.

During his time as a cop, Zayas, spent a lot of time practicing in secret to perfect his acting skills. After retiring from the force, going through a divorce, and filing for bankruptcy, Zayas decided to try his hand at an acting career.

In addition to Angel, he also plays cops in other series like Law and Order. His experience, with law enforcement allows him to include a touch of realism to Angel’s character. Basing his acting on real life experience contributes to why the cast of Dexter is known for delivering some of the best performances in TV history.

7 The Show Got On Australia's Bad Side

Despite Dexter’s popularity, it often drew the ire of several organizations and groups for portraying serial killing in such a sympathetic and positive manner. However, there was one instance when the show bit off more than it could chew.

In a Showcase add about the show, a comment was made by Dexter about how the city of Adelaide in Australia had the highest serial killer count per capita than any other city in Australia. This fact was later proven incorrect as it was revealed that the cause of these killings was linked to domestic violence and not serial killings.

The aftermath of this comment resulted in the Australian government filing grievances against the local Fox affiliate. Eventually, all forms of media advertisement in Australia for the show’s current, were pulled.

6 Zayas Was Often Replaced By His Son


As one of the shows main character’s, Angel Batista holds a special place in the series. Played by David Zayas, Angel was also shown to be quite resilient. He is one of the few original cast to survive all eight seasons.

However, it turns out that Zayas is not responsible for all of Angel’s best moments. Due to a conflicting schedule with roles from other series, Zayas was often absent during the filming of several episodes. Rather than replace him or cut him out of an episode, the shows writers and Zayas found the perfect substitute to replace him.

His role was shared by none other than his own son, David Zayas Jr. Both Zayas, and his son possess similar physical characteristics, to the extent that they are nearly identical.

5 John Lithgow Didn’t Think The Trinity Killer Was Really Evil

In the first episode of Dexter, audiences bear witness to the Trinity Killer performing a horrific murder. At first glance, you’d think that the Trinity Killer is just another remorseless killer. However, this assumption is false. Following his acts of murder, Lithgow’s character tortures and punishes himself for his actions.

During an interview with Lithgow, he explains that there is more to his character than just another serial killer. He states that his character is the mirror version of Dexter, albeit with more extreme tendencies. He is a devout Church goer,  a family man, and even does charity work.

However, unlike Dexter, he cannot help but let his urge to kill consume him. In the end, he’s just a regular family man that doesn’t want to be evil.  The conflicted nature of this character adds some depth and tragedy to the notion of good and evil.

4 Jennifer Carpenter's Bad Language

In the show, Debra and Dexter are often portrayed as opposites to one another. Dexter is a serial killer, but he always minds his manners. On the other hand, his sister, Debra, is a cop that doesn’t mind a little profanity.

According to statistics, it is estimated that during the shows eight season run, Debra uses the F-Word, on average, ten times per episode. In total, it's estimated that Debra has dropped the taboo word a total of 996 times. That’s enough to make even sailors blush.

Debra’s comfortable attitude towards cursing underlines an ulterior motive. As a female cop, she has a hidden to desire get along with her male colleagues in the force. In a way, her frequent use of the word underscores her desire to be just like one of the guys.

3 Dexter Has Killed Over 130 People

As far as most protagonists go, Dexter is a paradox. One the one hand, he is an ideal father figure, a great forensics scientist, and a loving husband and brother. On the other hand, Dexter is unable to fight off his murderous urges.

Rather than succumb to the temptation of murder, his foster father teaches him to redirect his urges to spare the lives of innocent people. This eventually leads to Dexter targeting criminals and other serial killers, collecting their blood samples as trophies.

His intelligence, background, and day job allow him to get away with nearly all of his crimes. As a result, he is responsible for killing quite a few people, both on and off screen. In eight seasons, it's estimated that Dexter’s kill count reaches somewhere in the hundreds. More specifically, he has likely killed around 134 people.

2 Arthur Mitchell Was Inspired By A Real Killer


Out of the many killers Dexter has faced, none were more suited to be his nemesis than the Trinity Killer. Played by John Lithgow, the Trinity Killer, aka Arthur Mitchell, does not appear to fit the usual profile of the average serial killer.

At first glance, he is a loving family man who goes to church and works hard to provide for his family. However, once he embraces his killer nature, Mitchell becomes a ruthless killer.

It turns out that many aspects of the Trinity Killer were inspired by some real-life elements. The writers of Dexter reveal that the Trinity Killer and his murders were inspired by the BTK Killer. Both appeared as innocent members of the community with strong devotions to their religious beliefs which also acted as inspiration for some of their murders.

1 Wardrobes for the Actors On Dexter’s Table

After capturing a target, Dexter brings them to a secluded location, specially prepared for their elimination. Other times, he even does it in his victims’ homes. In the moments leading up to his kills, Dexter’s behavior adopts a more ritualistic quality.

After drawing a blood sample to keep as a trophy, he stabs his victim in a particular order to end their lives.

In these moments, all his victims appear to be naked. In fact, many actors are literally stripped of all their clothes and put on a table, sometimes wearing nothing but a g-string to preserve their modesty. It takes a certain amount of courage for an actor to expose themselves and go through with a scene with such exposure.


Did we miss any dark secrets behind Dexter? Let us know in the comments!

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